Calling all princesses to Eastwood Field
Growing up, I was that weird mix between tomboy and girly girl.
I was an only child until the age of 6 1/2, so for that first part of my youth, my father – a former standout pitcher for Warren Western Reserve and avid golfer – made sure that there were athletics in my blood. So I played softball, soccer and attempted golf. I can putt, but don’t ask me to hit an iron.
However, the athletics were balanced by a healthy dose of competitive dance, cheerleading and a lot of pink in my wardrobe.
Obviously, the sports thing stuck with me, as did the girly stuff. This leads up to tonight – the night when I finally get to follow in my dad’s footsteps.
Around 4:45 p.m., the Mahoning Valley Scrappers will allow me to throw out the first pitch before their game against Williamsport. But of course, I made sure to do it with a twist only I could provide.
Tonight is “Princess Night” at Eastwood Field. The Scrappers are encouraging all of those little Elsas, Cinderellas and Snow Whites to come out to the park, wear their best princess dress, take a stroll around the field during a princess parade and then kick back and watch a little baseball. The perfect mixture of tomboy and girly stuff.
With the help from my friends at the Scrappers, I get to be a part of the princess parade (I found an awesome tiara to wear along with my Little Mermaid outfit) before stepping aside from my little princesses to throw out the first pitch before the game.
Now, here’s the problem. I know it’s one pitch, and I’ve thrown a baseball thousands of times in my life, but I am nervous. I’ve seen enough first-pitch-gone-wrong?videos to know that there could be 1 or 10,000 fans in attendance, but if it goes wrong, the world will know.
First of all, there is the pressure from the crowd. I will know many in attendance and all eyes will be on me. That’s a little stressful. Plus, it doesn’t help when sitting in the press box are my peers and colleagues who I’m sure will be heckling as best as they can.
Secondly, my dad was an all-state pitcher who went to college on a baseball scholarship. There are probably hundreds of people reading this column right now who can say “I played ball with your dad!” If I don’t throw a strike, let it sail high or in any way, shape or form mess this up, I will never hear the end of it.
And finally, I’m representing the girls. I can’t let my fellow princesses down.
Now, don’t expect me to come out and hurl it like Mo’Ne Davis, the 13-year old who plays for the Pennsylvania team in the Little League World Series. On Friday night, she tossed a two-hit shutout, striking out eight. The girl is the real deal and puts a whole new twist on “throwing like a girl.” I’m pretty sure the eight kids on the Nashville team whom she struck out on Friday aren’t going to be making fun of girls playing baseball any time soon.
But no matter how I throw it, what I’m most looking forward to is walking around the baseball diamond with a bunch of pretty princesses, who maybe have a little tomboy in them. It’s perfectly normal to go straight from dance class to softball practice, or vice versa. Or head from a soccer game and take off your shin guards while going to gymnastics class. And, it’s perfectly normal to fall asleep cuddling your glove while watching “Frozen.”
If you want your daughter to participate in the princess parade, meet at the Fun Zone. Gates open at 4 p.m., and the parade begins at 4:30. Then around 4:45, we will see if my dad will still claim me or not.